Shining a Black Light
This article originally appeared on the College of Nursing and Health Professions News page on Feb. 1, 2021.
To celebrate Black History Month 2021, the College is launching a weekly editorial feature conceived by Veronica Carey, PhD, the assistant dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and chair of CNHP’s board of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, called Shining a Black Light. Each week we will spotlight members of the CNHP community who add so much of the richness of our culture and contribute to the success of our efforts in education, research and scholarship, health equity and social justice.
“I hope shining a ‘Black Light’ will help demonstrate the depth and breadth of contributions our Black and African American faculty, professional staff and students make to the sustainability of CNHP,” shared Carey. It was during a recent student listening session—Dismantling Racism with Drs. Brooks and Montgomery—when this concept came to her. Carey invited colleagues to write about the accomplishments and influence their work has had on the College and about what can be achieved with respect to the race-culture at CNHP/Drexel and how that can be done.
The College is launching this weekly editorial feature, “Shining a Black Light,” to focus attention on the gifts, support, competencies and contributions members of our community are making and who demonstrate that Black history is made through hard work, perseverance, and so much more.
Cecile McDuffie is the contract coordinator, Compliance and Facilities specialist, and has been a part of the Drexel family for almost a decade. She is an innovative thinker, whose insight has helped refine the compliance process amidst changes over the years. She is a team player and a problem solver, always available to assist her colleagues when the need arises. Cecile is well-respected and loved by her colleagues across many departments.
Regarding what can be achieved with respect to race-culture, she says, “Having regular interactions with students, faculty and professional staff, as well as my own experiences, I see the ways that people of color are impacted by the racial disparities across the University. I will continue to be a source of support to those who need me.” A fun fact about Cecile is that she is a proud Trekkie! (Star Trek Voyager is her favorite). Thank you, Cecile, for your innovation, support of peers, and attention to detail which moves the goals of your department forward; you shine for CNHP!
Christine Wilson has been employed by Drexel University for 22 years. She is most describe as a humble, dedicated and dependable employee. She has become a staple at the College of Nursing and Health Profession—she arrives at work early in the morning and stays late into the evening. She is very skilled at her job as an academic records manager. Christine manages several programs in the College with ease and professionalism. Christine is a firm believer that with the education we can achieve an anti-racist culture, but everyone must participate and be willing to learn even when it gets uncomfortable.
A fun fact about Christine is that she enjoys entertaining and having large gatherings of people when it comes to her cookouts.
Dr. Ebony White is an assistant clinical professor in the Counseling and Family Therapy department. She is also the program director for the Master in Addiction’s Counseling and the certificate in Substance Use Disorders. Dr. White is a member of the Board of Global Health Engagement, the Academic Affairs Committee and the Faculty Affairs Committee. She is a MACY faculty member and a Liberty Scholars mentor. Dr. White is the advisor for two student organizations, NAMI Drexel and CATs of Color. Dr. White has provided TeamStepps Training and multicultural training for CNHP and has participated in panels at CNHP addressing the intersection of ageism, race and COVID and physical distancing while still meeting social needs. She also participated in a panel for nurses at St. Christopher on managing emotions in the time of COVID and a racial pandemic. Last summer Dr. White recorded a video for CNHP on staying connected during the pandemic and recently she was awarded a racial equity grant to incorporate VR technology into multicultural training. Dr. White’s research is centered around advocacy and social justice in the African American community. She also conducts research on transracial adoption and the global mental health of people of African descent. She has done trauma work in Croix de Bouquet, Haiti and trained healthcare professionals in Gombe State, Nigeria. She currently serves as the chair for the North Atlantic Region of the American Counseling Association.
In regards to the work around racial justice and race relations at Drexel University, there is much to be done. "I have seen efforts of the College and University in the past year, particularly by the CNHP Board of DEI. However, our faculty and student body continue to lack much visible diversity, particularly Black visibility. This is notable given the fact that Drexel is situated in a city that is almost 50 percent Black. Furthermore, curriculum continues to include oppressive content, which is problematic. My hope is that programming addressing anti-racist practices is seen more as necessary rather than optional moving forward and that our College does the work to uphold their mission of equity in healthcare across the board." A fun fact is that Dr. White loves to sing and sang back-up for Shania Twain and Kenny Rogers.
Patrice Farquharson is a recent graduate of the Master of Public Health program and is an incoming student in the Physician Assistant program class of 2023 at Drexel University. In pursuit of her MPH degree, she focused her research project on Black and African Americans medical mistrust including the associated impacts of health disparities and inequities. Patrice served as the first-year representative on the Graduate Student Association (GSA) board, worked with Dr. Veronica Carey along with others in CNHP to help create and implement the Life after Drexel series now retitled Success After Drexel. As an inclusion, diversity, equity and antiracism (IDEA) fellow at the Dornsife School of Public Health (DSPH), she helped develop and disseminate a school-wide climate survey to students, staff and faculty. Currently, she is working on the planning and development of the Center on Racism and Health and outside of the University she serves as the young adult chair for her local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
As a student of color, Patrice has to advocate for herself. Progress is being made, and she is optimistic that the challenges she encountered are being reworked to ensure they are not experienced by future students. A fun fact about Patrice is she loves to travel the world, especially doing mission work. Additionally, Patrice would like to thank Dr. Veronica Carey, she states, "Dr. Carey CNHP is beyond lucky to have you as you are paving the way for students like me to truly achieve success. Thank you for your support, patience, guidance and illuminating personality and smile that brightens every room. You are a true inspiration."